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Thursday, April 24, 2008

The “Camsur” Experience (Caramoan)

Jack Kerouac wrote a book called “Big Sur”, about his stay in a populated coastal part in California that faces the Pacific Ocean. “Camsur” is a shortened term for Camarines Sur in the province of Bicol where the Caramoan Peninsula is located.


It was my first time to travel to the Bicol region and as expected the trip to Caramoan took very long, from the 8 hour bus ride from Manila to Naga, an hour trip to Sabang port and the two hour boat ride to Caramoan. The whole trip almost took almost half a day.


But it was all worth it, as Friday morning we started the island hopping part of our trip, some islands were closed down due to the shooting of a French Survivor reality TV series, but still, some of the islands that we visited has some of the finest white/golden sand beaches that i’ve ever seen in my life.


Crystal green and blue waters under the shimmery hot sun, the pretty visible coral reefs and other sea creatures, rock formations all contribute to the appeal of the islands scattered all over the Caramoan Peninsula.


If ever I’d become a castaway I won't have any problem getting stuck in one of those islands. “No man is an island” but i think i can be an exception. If I were to get lost from this mad society when I get old, this would be one of the few places I’ll consider spending my retirement years.


The boat ride sometimes took very long, hopping from one island to the next took 30 minutes to an hour, sometimes i feel like going to sleep while sitting on the boat. However, strong waves will time to time, batter the boat bringing along some sea water to rain down on me. I was loving it, although at one point I thought the boat will roll over and under the sea.


Good thing, although the waves are bigger than normal, our boatman was cool and relaxed knowing just what to do in handling the boat quite well in sailing along the strong waves.


For two days we visited four or five islands, took hundreds of pictures, posed for photographs with a starfish, climbed up a hill where a giant Mama Mary statue was erected, went caving, lost both of my slippers in a mini “kumunoy”, went swimming in the beach, in an underground river and enjoyed the company of some of my former workmates and old and new friends as well.


Most of all, during this trip, I realized how beautiful the Philippines is, a year ago i was pissed off at my life here and would do anything just to get out of here, I envy those who are living in America and Europe, thinking the Philippines is a place where everything was lost.

Now, I am realizing slowly, that amidst all political screw-ups, turmoils, economic uncertainty, all of which are normal in every nation, I have developed a new-found zest and appreciation for the Philippines. I’ll make it a vow to at least visit half of the Philippines before i reach the age of 35 years old, or before i start my own family.

There’s lots of places to see, lots of people to meet and make friends with. Reminds me of a Rancid song detailing their life on the road “all these (places) all these people, all these friends we were equall”.

In the end, i now know that, there are these places that will make one’s zest for life burn for more and to quote good ole Jack Kerouac “burn burn burn like fabulous roman candles” , these friends that you travel with will make the experience more joyful and the equality of everyone of us in times of discovering and learning a new place makes it even better than what we normally do on our everyday lives. How i wish i could just pack up my bags tomorrow and go on another sojourn with my friends in a new destination.


But in real life, there’s work that we all have to do, but in between those times, we should start planning for that next great adventure…..so who’s with us next time?
Palawan, Bohol, Davao, Cebu, iloilo, Batanes, Albay, Camiguin, CDO, damn and the list justgoes on and on….


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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC)

As part of our sidetrip to Caramoan, we dropped by Camsur Watersports Complex (CWC) to give wakeboarding a try.  The place was filled with both experienced and newbie wakeboarders, I put myself in the newbie category as I haven’t experienced wakeboarding before.

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I was too eager to try it that I ditched listening to the instructions of one of the staff there, I thought by watching closely at the form and style of those experienced wakeboarders I will give myself a better chance at pulling it off at first try.

Alas, I crashed during my first 3 or 4 tries to the embarassment of picking myself and swimming out of the water into safety and back again to fall in line. After that i stopped by to listen to the instructions for the kneeboard, a much easier position, instead of standing on a wakeboard, you have to kneel on the board and strap your lower body.

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I pulled it off during my first try, crashing on the turn, swimming back, falling in line and giving it a try again. After I was able to complete one lap of kneeboard I went back to give wakeboarding a try.

To sum it up, I crashed half a dozen times, lasted for half a lap once, completed one lap one time and after that i decided to rest as it also takes a beating on your body.
Will definitely come back someday and hoping, I’d get it all right next time.

Accommodation at CWC consist of cottages and trailers which looks cool from the outside and from what i’ve heard cozy in the inside. It has amenities like a swimming pool, wakeboard shop, souvenir store and a place to eat. (try out the popular “Laing Pizza”).

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Plus you get to see the wonderful view of Mount Isarog on a clear day.

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travel buddies
travel buddies

Monday, April 14, 2008

Pundaquit Baquit!, The Great Barrier Reef, not so wild animals & the spartan laughing debate

I’d hit the road with these two anytime. Like what happened this weekend, albeit short (hope they created a 4 day weekend ), it was really fun, crazy, with endless spoofs and a lot more only a pair of cowgirls who have a striving connection with the great barrier “reef” could present.


Lot was wondering what i was thinking the whole time, my brain wasn’t cut out to process in real-time the endless barrage of fun ideas these two cowgirls presents ( was thinking “Even Cowgirls get the Blues”).

Lot and Tina could very well appear in a Tom Robbins’ novel. Lakwatsa to Zambales started on Friday morning at 6:00am, straight from my work (where i worked the night shift) i headed straight to Cubao terminal of the Victory Liner to meet up with Lot.

Me and Lot found time to talk to each other (yiheee) before we both fell asleep, (yihee I slept with Lotski), waking up in random moments and after a brief stop-over at a place called “Double Happiness Restaurant” we arrived in Olongapo City at about 9:30 am.

After a quick breakfast with Tina who met us there, we rode an ordinary bus to San Antonio, Zambales. Not after Tina asked the bus conductor at the Victory Liner if the bus with a sign “Caloocan” is going to Iba, Zambales twice.


An hour later we’re all under the bridge, taking a quick rest because TINA INSISTED ON WALKING TO PUNDAQUIT. “lapit lng dude, mga 5 mins walk lng cguro yon” 20 minutes into it. Tina: “try naten mg hitch?”, after half a dozen cars passed by an L-300 van stopped by offering to hitch us, Tina and Lot politely rejected it as Tina again insisted that we’re already near the beach. They later regretted declining the man’s offer of a ride.



But it was a fun walk actually, under the hot sun, visions not of Cody (Jack Kerouac), but white sands, the beach and a thirst for beer made us enjoy walking towards our destination.
On the way we saw:

- Frogstomp:
- Kids on a pedicab:
- And a goat who scared Lotski away:


Got into a small problem of looking for a place to stay as all the resorts are already fullybooked. Punta De Uian was also fullybooked plus running on a tight budget, Lot and Tina called the resorts one by one reading from the billboards posted around Pundaquit.

Tina: George? may available rooms pa?
George: available what?
Tina: I mean is this Megan’s resort?
George: Yes
Tina: as in now na, may rooms pa?
George: ewan ko!


After a few unsuccesful phone calls we ran into a place owned by Mrs. Ferriols, its a private property but also accepts guest during peak season, but beware! tresspassers are killed like wild animals. It is also where Stephen the Cat resides: whom according TO LOT LOOKS JUST LIKE ME.


After a brief rest, and a 15 minute nap (wherein i snored accdg to them) and Tina getting scared by Stephen the Cat and playing baby and posing for pictures at the Aztec Ruins:


Sunset came:


After dinner we went to the bar, played pool and smoke something (hehe di ko alam un eh, something about the great barrier reef) which was wrapped in a marshmallow flavored paper. Lot singing Ana’s version of a song which goes like this:

“I just wanna be on the beach..because i got high”

Also Guy Morales texted us: “May function pa kasi dito. Di ko alam kung anong oras matatapos.”
Tina’s reply was: “OO”
I wonder if Guy felt weirded out by Tina’s reply hehe.


So Tina went back to the room saying “She was already”….uhmm cge Sleepy na lng…
Here’s what happened after that., laughtrip galore…i was already snoring when i woke up to them laughing out loud.

The next day i woke up early, saw a man died on the beach too :( , he jumped into the shallow part of the beach hitting head first, hard enough to break his neck and losing consciouness, people tried to help him but he was carried on the shoulder of one of the men and probably worsened his neck injury more by getting his head to dangle more.

“wake up to the sound of (pouring rain) a camera flash”:


After a heavy breakfast its off to Capones Island to see the Lighthouse:


On the way up, Tina swore off smoking. On the way down, Tina (who quit smoking for less than 30 minutes) continued with his Yosi Break and a Crouching and Hidden Lot apparition:


At the lighthouse, Lot and Tina performed a duet of "Total Eclipse of the Heart"


Then afterward we took a swim at Capones Island.




Then we went back to Pundaquit and prepared to go back home.
Tina said: “Isa pang WanMorTaym”

There, it was a great two days. Our friend Guy from Punta De Uian in Pundaquit, Zambales offered us to ride with him to Olongapo, thanks again dude…
Guy’s text: “Daanan ko na lng kayo jan”
Tina’s text: “OO”


( This blog was written for a PG-13 rating, some parts deemed inappropriate for young readers are edited out )